Reed touts his ability to Cullman

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

Butler County School Superintendent Mike Reed faced questions regarding school finances, curriculum, leadership styles and communication during his interview Tuesday night for the top job with Cullman City Schools.

Proudest Accomplishment

Reed told the Cullman board the thing he is most proud of is that the Butler County graduation rate rose from 77 percent to 93 percent in his six years at the helm.

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He said what interests him in the post in Cullman is the beauty of the area.

&uot;Twenty five years ago, I came here on a church trip and was struck with the aesthetic beauty,&uot; he said.

&uot;I thought it looked like Bavaria and would like to return. And here I am.&uot;

Communication & Leadership

He told the board his has great organizational ability and is decisive.

&uot;I involve people in decision making process and am a good communicator,&uot; he said.

He was also asked about his most difficult personnel issue you’ve faced and how he resolved it. He responded that the most difficult was having to let someone go.

&uot;We had 28 more teachers in Butler County than what state funded,&uot; he said.

&uot;We were able to save the programs, but we did eliminate the 28 positions. That is the hardest thing I think any administrator has to work with. You’re working with someone’s future, someone’s career.&uot;

He also said the thing that makes a school system good is leadership.

&uot;Dynamic leadership from the central office to the classroom,&uot; he said.

Board relationship

He was asked what he would do if the board disagreed with a program he thought was educationally sound.

&uot; I would explain my feelings,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m an educational advisor to the school board. My job is to do what the board mandates and directs. That’s what I’ll do.&uot;

Reporting to the public

He was asked how he would communicate the financial condition of the schools to the public and he said through annual budget meetings and civic club visits.

&uot;Of course, you have the annual two meetings on the budget,&uot; he said.

&uot;I have a Power Point presentation I take from civic club to civic club. I outline the number of rolls of toilet paper and the cost, what costs to provide meals, tax base, everything. School is a business, and business leaders need to see that.&uot;

Fears for system.

When asked what his greatest fear as a superintendent was, he said it was proration.

&uot;Every superintendent’s fear is proration,&uot; he said. &uot;Alabama’s tax structure is such that it’s going to happen again. We know it’s going to come around again. The only way to get through it is to have a reserve big enough

to overcome the length of proration.&uot;

He also said student violence is another fear he deals with.

&uot;I’m from Mississippi, and we had an incident in Pearl, Miss.,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m scared of a student coming in with a gun. It’s a fear we all have.&uot;

Other questions asked of Reed

Q. After researching an education program and deciding it is something needed, how would you market that style to the community and seek input from parents and teachers?

A: First I would look at is it something we really need. Is the faculty ready for the training involved?

I am a big proponent of professional development. Then I would go about selling to the board and involving the community.

Q: What would you do to make available more vocational offerings and what would you do to work with other organizations to turn out the kind of employees being sought?

A: We have to keep our finger on the pulse on it by talking to business leaders in the community. What skills do they need? Then we can we work our curriculum to fill those needs.

Q: What do you think is the key ingredient to a successful relationship with the city council and other government entities that help fund our schools?

A: Constant communication and showing what we’re doing with the funds


Q: What role do you think support staff should play in student success?

A: Everyone from superintendent down is important. Our goal is to improve instruction. We should make children feel like they want to come into that school. It is important for students to know we care about them.

Q: What role do sports and other extra-curricular activities play in a

student’s overall education experience?

A: The more we can involved our students in activities in school, the better off we’re going to be and students will be. Academics run the show. But the more involved students are, the more successful they will be. We need to have as many activities as can afford to have.

Q: This is a hypothetical situation. You have a principal who needs a science teacher and soccer coach. That principal has the opportunity to get an outstanding science teacher with 5 years experience and no soccer credentials or new teacher fresh out of college who went to school on a soccer scholarship. How would you advice that principal?

A: I would ask them to first analyze existing staff. What do you have

already? If that doesn’t work, I would see if there is a way to raise the money to get both. If not, I would go with most experienced teacher.

The Cullman Times provided the questions and answers from Reed’s interview.

This was the third known interview that Reed has participated, previously being interviewed with the Sylacauga City School System and the Phenix City Schools.

He pulled his name from the superintendent search in Phenix City.

Also, a search committee for Hartselle City Schools, ranked Reed second on its list of superintendent finalists recently.

His interview in Hartselle will take place in early December.

Reed’s resume is listed with N & P Educational Associates, which acts as a headhunter for school systems in need of qualified candidates to fill principal and superintendent positions.